Insignis Program  
 

Beyond Academics

 
Insignis is more than just an academic program. In keeping with the mission of Aquinas College, Insignis’s members are also encouraged to develop the emotional and spiritual sides of their personalities. Special workshops and meetings designed to meet the unique needs of honors students are offered regularly. Students may also participate in a full range of cultural activities, such as attending the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra or Civic Theatre, to balance their intellectual development and to help them lead well-rounded lives. The Insignis Program is affiliated with both the Michigan Honors Association and the Mid-East Honors Association. Insignis students regularly attend the annual conferences of these organizations with the director of the program.
 
In monthly meetings, members are able to discuss matters of concern with one another a relaxed, informal atmosphere. An annual retreat in the fall sets the tone for what’s to come and the year ends with a Symposium to recognize outstanding achievements of Insignis members. Throughout the year, special trips and activities are made available to Insignis students at little or no cost. In the past, these have included trips to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival.
 
Because a commitment to serving others is considered a basic part of a well-rounded education, Insignis students are also expected to spend some part of their time each semester in volunteer service.
 
Insignis Service Learning Program
To be complete, a college education should develop all of a student’s capacities, academic, social, spiritual and personal. The Insignis service learning program offers students an opportunity to get involved in the life of the Aquinas and greater communities through serving those communities. The idea for a service component in the Insignis Program originated with the students and was developed by the students and the Insignis director. Service learning has been a part of Insignis since 1993 when the Committee on Studies of the Academic Assembly approved the service learning component.
 
Definition of Service
For purposes of the Insignis Program requirement, “service” is defined as any non-curricular activity engaged in by the student which benefits other people, either directly or indirectly, and for which the student does not receive any compensation either in the form of money or college credit.
 
This definition is purposely broad. Some people function very well in inner city soup kitchens, others find work with children more congenial. Some have a natural talent for working directly with people, while others may prefer more solitary volunteering. Students should attempt to find a type of service that is something they can do well and that will encourage their personal growth and benefit others at the same time.
 
Many service opportunities are available on campus through CAVA/SAC and Campus Ministry. Off-campus opportunities are available in the Grand Rapids and Kent County area, or students may complete their service learning in their home communities.
 
The service component of Insignis may be completed all at once (e.g. a service learning trip, a day or two of activity totaling 15 contact hours), or through the semester (e.g. one hour per week each week).
 
Procedure
  • At the beginning of each semester, students will receive a service learning log on which they should keep track of their service activities (see next page).
  • At the end of each semester, students should return their service learning logs to the Director via campus mail. Students may also submit a record of their service via e-mail to the Insignis Director.
  • The Director notes the student’s activities in the student’s permanent file.
 
Symposium
The Symposium is an annual dinner, held in the spring, at which special recognition is given to graduating seniors who have participated in the Insignis Program.
 
At this event, seniors who have completed or are completing their senior projects or undergraduate assistantships will be called upon to make short presentations on their work.
 
Other activities, events, speakers, etc. may be included in this annual event.
 
The Symposium will generally be organized by the officers and members of the senior class working within a budget approved by the Director.